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UK Media & Consumer Market Update — October 21, 2020

UK Media & Consumer Market Update — October 21, 2020
21 October 2020 Zac van Manen

Accurate as of: 21 October 2020

Current UK status:

Visit for all official information.

  • As of 4pm on 20 October 2020, a total of 27,795,752 people have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19), of which 762,542 were confirmed positive.
  • 43,967 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
  • A new set of local COVID alert levels have been established and are medium / high / very high. These new alert levels set out information for local authorities, residents and workers about what to do and how to manage an outbreak in their area. London is in the ‘high’ risk category.
  • A full Q&A regarding the UK lockdown rules can be found here.

UK travel restrictions:

Visit for all official information.

  • As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.
  • A 14-day mandatory quarantine for all UK arrivals except for those announced as exempt. See here for the full list of exempt countries. Countries can be added or removed from this list at any time.
  • FCO travel advice includes information on any health measures in place for visitors to a country or territory. These can include a requirement to self-isolate, quarantine or undergo testing for coronavirus, or even restrictions on entry.
  • All travellers entering the UK or returning to the UK must complete a comprehensive passenger locator form, or risk a fine.

Latest updates:

  • The government will be flexible on the type of COVID tests certified for use in the ‘test and release’ system to be recommended by its Global Travel Taskforce, meaning cheaper, quicker tests may be possible. Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the system could be ready as early as December (Travel Weekly)
  • A renewed call for government support came as new estimates suggested UK airports are losing £83 million a week due to the pandemic. International aviation has been brought almost to a standstill with a projected loss by the end of the year of £4.3 billion, the Airport Operators Association warned (Travel Weekly)
  • Sandals and Beaches Resorts’ UK has reported that clients travelling in 2020 are staying longer than the last two years. Stays booked with Unique Caribbean Holidays Ltd. are 16% longer this year than last, which was the same as 2018 (Travel Weekly)
  • More than 50 industry suppliers have joined TTG’s Holiday To Help Out scheme. Sandals, Club Med, Trafalgar, Premier Holidays and Travelopia are among the latest tour operators to sign up to the initiative, while Fred Olsen, Uniworld, A-Rosa and Celestyal feature among the recent cruise lines to join the cause. The initiative sees suppliers offering discounts and special offers on holidays available only through travel agents (TTG)
  • The UK has only four holiday options with no restrictions left – Germany, Gibraltar, Greece and Sweden (Telegraph)
  • The new Wales lockdown is causing mass holiday cancellations, leaving many tourism businesses under severe financial strain (Guardian)
  • The Irish government is to move the country to the highest level of restrictions, broadly similar to the spring lockdown. Cabinet ministers have agreed to ‘level five’ restrictions from midnight on Wednesday in a bid to combat the rise in cases (BBC)
  • Steep falls in tax receipts and higher Whitehall spending pushed UK public finances into a £36.1bn deficit in September while inflation rose to 0.5%, according to the latest official figures (Guardian)
  • More than half (52%) of UK consumers are worried about how they will afford Christmas this year, as the harsh economic realities of the pandemic hit home for many, according to a survey. About 31% of those polled for consumer insight company Toluna’s Understanding the 2020 Consumer Global Barometer study plan to spend less on presents and gifts this year (Yahoo)

Social media:

  • Snapchat has reported an increase in both users and revenue this quarter, courtesy of coronavirus. 11 million new daily active users (DAUs) mean that Snapchat now has 249 million DAUs, up 20 million on last year. For reference, Twitter serves 186 million daily monetizable users (slightly different metrics but similar enough) so Snapchat seems to be bucking their stalled growth patterns courtesy of Instagram stealing Stories.
  • Speaking of Instagram, they’re adding new, post-level age gates for branded content. Creators can already set a minimum age for whole profiles but now they can do the same for individual posts. If you’re marketing alcohol, pharmaceuticals, or even financial products this change is for you.
  • IG’s also rolling out badges for live stream donations as an extra monetisation model for creators. Facebook’s priority as a parent company seems to be on allowing people, businesses, and brands to monetise as much as possible lately. It’s a good move and it should mean there are plenty of new opportunities for you to make some cash off your social presence outside of just digital brand awareness. Keep an eye out for even more.
  • On that note, if you want to keep up to date with changes across Instagram follow the Head of Instagram @mosseri.
  • Curious how small to medium businesses have been performing this quarter? Facebook’s just published new insights on business closures, employee retention, and revenue changes. Good news: fewer businesses are closing and some are reporting relatively even periods year-on-year. Bad news: employee retention is still tough and revenues are still down — in some cases by 50-60%.
  • Are you buying likes, followers, and shares? You shouldn’t have been doing so in the past because fake engagement is just that. But you really shouldn’t be doing it any more as Facebook’s initiating legal action against companies for selling followers and likes. It can be tempting to get the vanity metrics to climb but followers who don’t engage with your brand don’t buy from your brand and the risk of getting found out means your account is on the chopping block so, if you haven’t stopped already, stop now.
  • Remember when Pakistan banned TikTok? Yea, it was only last week but that’s a while ago in COVID time. Well, it turns out they’re unbanning it but with stricter content requirements which is famously a field in which social networks have never had any trouble…
  • Retweeting misinformation without knowing it? Twitter’s going to start letting you know. It’s part of their ongoing effort to make retweeting tweets you didn’t read and don’t really understand more difficult. They also had a bit of a spar with the New York Post last week after an article about Hunter Biden’s connection to Ukraine was published without real sources.
  • Zoom also looks set to make the pivot from service provider to technology platform as they launch OnZoom, their integrated events offering. Sell tickets, run events, and host up to 1,000 attendees with the new service that requires only a paid Zoom subscription. They’re also testing their end-to-end encryption tech for all users after backpedalling on the claim it would be for paid users only.

Confused about how best to communicate with your customers during this period? Get in touch.